Indies Introduce has selected the top ten adult and children’s titles debuting in winter/spring 2019. The titles were selected by a panel of American Booksellers Association members from across the U.S. Here are the children’s titles that include YA as well:
Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap
Kings, Queens and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju
Mostly the Honest Truth by Jody J. Little
Nikki on the Line by Barbara Roberts
Nocturna by Maya Motayne
Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
White Rose by Kip Wilson
XL by Scott Brown
Deadendia: The Watcher’s Test by Hamish Steele (9781910620472)
Barney has just gotten a job as the janitor at the Dead End theme park in the haunted house. His best friend Norma works there too. But Dead End is not just a haunted house, it’s much more a portal to literal hell. There are visiting demons, some of them friendly like Courtney who serves as an ambassador and others terrifyingly evil and powerful like Temeluchus. Temeluchus is the demon that Barney and Norma defeat in the early part of the book, who ends up possessing Pugsley, Barney’s dog. Pugsley gains magical powers and the ability to speak. Soon the three of them discover the dangers of running a portal to hell but also manage to work on their love lives along the way.
Steele has created one of the zaniest, twistiest and most demonic graphic novels around. The novel is a collection of his web comics and sometimes starting a new chapter is rather like starting a new story. That’s not a complaint, because it suits the spirit of the book but those looking for a more linear tale will find themselves confused at times. Just go with it!
The diversity here is very strongly represented. Barney is a transgender character and the book deals with this in an upfront way and also allows readers to see glimpses of Barney’s past. Perhaps the best part is the love storyline for Barney and Logs, though I also appreciate his friendship with Norma who is equally enjoyable, strong and multidimensional, sometimes literally.
A graphic novel for teens that has enough demons, laughter and romance to entice anyone. Appropriate for ages 13-16.
Reviewed from library copy.